Thiess Services launches into resources

Wednesday, 18 July, 2012

Thiess Services, which has spent 25 years honing its skills on projects mostly in Australia’s major cities, has built a portfolio in fields such as contaminated site remediation, waste management, water management, energy distribution and facilities operations and maintenance. Now the company has been brought into alignment with the needs of the mining industry, so General Manager of Remediation and Infrastructure Doug Moss is looking to take advantage of this.

The initial objective is to win projects with Thiess Australian Mining, which currently operates 11 major projects. Longer term, Thiess Services is positioning itself as a provider of specialist services to the resources sector as a whole. Moss said he’s targeting much of the fringe work that actually detracts from the core operation for a miner, but which sits at the heart of Thiess Services’ business.

“I can’t think of any aspect of our current operations that doesn’t have some application to mining,” he said.

Spearheading Thiess Services’ journey into mining is a specialist team from its Remediation and Infrastructure division which is applying facilities maintenance and occupational hygiene to the Collinsville Coal Mine. The mine has a long history of challenges with gases produced by spontaneous combustion. Thiess Services is applying its skills acquired in extremely hazardous environments to ensure best-practice air-quality monitoring and health and safety practices at Collinsville, while at the same time maintaining and operating various parts of the mine site infrastructure.

“We’re experienced in dealing with a vast range of hazardous chemicals such as dioxins, hexachlorobenzene and asbestos, to name but a few,” said Moss.

“90% of our contaminated site work is in urban environments so we must have very effective methods of control.”

The remediation expertise extends to the rehabilitation of active and abandoned mine sites, many of which are comparable to the numerous large-scale projects tackled by Thiess Services, such as Sydney’s home for the 2000 Olympic Games.

“Our works at Homebush Bay were on a massive scale over a long period and included a vast array of civil works including creek diversions, acid sulphate soil treatment and water-storage construction. These same skills apply to mine site rehabilitation, right down to production of the right plants for revegetation,” said Moss.

Other areas of skill applicable to mining include water monitoring by the Thiess Services hydrography group. This specialist team is applying data network technology to provide comprehensive information for flood mapping and water-quality monitoring. This expertise translates directly to mining and the many challenges it faces with water.

Water treatment is also a core skill and Thiess Services says it has the niche engineering and construction strength to deliver specialist water treatment plants that may fall outside the interest of larger construction companies. The company also has strength in electricity infrastructure, with installation or relocation of poles and wires and substation construction being core capabilities provided routinely to large electricity network providers.

Thiess Services is looking beyond just organic growth to extend its mining reach. It has recently opened a new office in Newcastle to provide a focus on the Hunter Valley, and is in the process of establishing facilities in the Bowen Basin in Queensland and in the Pilbara in WA, both burgeoning growth centres for mining.

Moss is enthusiastic about the transition, saying, “We’re a one-stop shop for the mining industry and we’re open and ready for business.”

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